Daft as a Brush founder Brian Bernie visits South Tyneside to thank generous North East fundraisers

Daft as a Brush charity champion, Brian Bernie visited South Tyneside to meet residents who have raised almost £20,000 towards a new ambulance.

By Sarah Sinclair
Wednesday, 03 July, 2019, 16:30
Daft as Brush charity founder, Brian Burnie (left) is taking a break from his fundraising trek around the country, to bring an ambulance/or other vehicle to the Whitburn Summer Festival at Cornthwaite Park, Whitburn, on Satutrday, to thank the people of Whitburn for all the money they have raised so far. Brian is pictured with wife Cheryl (centre) and fundraiser Margaret Reid,

Daft as a Brush founder, Brian, took a break from his two-year charity trek around the country, to visit Whitburn Summer Festival on Saturday, June 29, where he thanked residents for their own astounding fundraising efforts.

76 year-old Margaret Reid, who lives in Whitburn, began raising the £25,000 needed to buy a new ambulance for the charity 14 months ago, through collections in supermarkets across South Tyneside and the wider North East.

She has so far reached £19,500 of her target, with £1,000 raised through a tombola and donations on the day of the festival.

Daft as Brush now runs a fleet of 29 ambulances and has over 300 volunteer drivers, taking 40,000 patients back and forwards to hospital in the last year.

Margaret’s husband Ron died of cancer 13 years ago, and she saw the impact that the charity can have, she said: “It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a good job we’ve got somebody like [Brian], and if we can get another ambulance we can take even more people.”

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Margaret, who has only had the help of a handful of friends and volunteers, has been overwhelmed by the response she has received.

“People have been so generous it’s unbelievable,” she said. “When we’ve been collecting some people have been in tears, because they don’t know how to say thank you for what [Brian] is doing.”

Brian, from Alnwick, Northumberland is currently walking 7,000 miles around the coastal path of Great Britain and Ireland to raise £2 million in order to bring free cancer patient transport nationwide.

“With Brian Bernie being there, it was the icing on the cake,” said Margaret. “It’s lovely that he came to say thank you to the people for getting the money together for another ambulance.”

She added: “All you can do is thank the generous people of the North East. We’re not there yet, but we’re definitely going to get it.”